Nearly 60 leaders have gathered for the two-day conference meant to find ways to keep terrorists from detonating an atomic weapon in a major city. The leaders were to release a communique Tuesday about their efforts to lock down the world’s supply of nuclear material by 2014.
Much of the drama, however, has centered on North Korea’s stated plans to launch a satellite on a long-range rocket around the April 15 celebration of the birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung. Washington and Seoul view the launch as cover for nuclear missile development; North Korea says the satellite is part of a peaceful space program and will help in forecasting the weather.
President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Monday pressured China, Pyongyang’s main ally and economic supporter, to use its leverage to persuade the North to back away from the launch.